Last week I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Florida. On the drive down, we saw multiple billboard signs to visit “South of the Border,”a dinky tourist attraction/theme park on the North and South Carolina border, and an example of successful marketing by using persistent messages and images.
The theme is Mexican and playful. Black billboards with Western style typography and colorful sombrero hats stick out to the weary driver on the monotonous road, beckoning to stop by and visit this plastic, campy world, with jumbo cactuses, and cartoonish Mexican caricatures.
On arriving, we made a beeline for “Pedro’s Coffee Shop,” which boasted the largest sign in sight. Missing Starbucks, we were happy imagining even boiled coffee in a tin pot, but the trick was on us, because the store was really a hat store. They did have Maxwell house coffee, way in the back of the store, as a bonus for buying a hat!!
We discovered that each store we ventured into had a sign that did not match its contents! We started to wonder, for whose amusement was the park really for??
Hungry, we finally moved on, without checking out the restaurants there, half expecting them to sell leather shoes instead.
Several of us had childhood memories of the billboards but had not actually ever visited the park, so we did leave with this revisited mystery finally satisfied.